9 Tips for Job Interviews

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Post by Laura Burden, final year student at Hallam

So if, like me, you’re coming to the end of your time studying at Sheffield Hallam, you’re probably starting to think about getting one of those job things. I’ve had a few job interviews recently; I wanted to share some of my experiences and tips.

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this post, that you’ve secured an interview. Pat yourself on the back because that in itself isn’t easy. Clearly, there’s something in your application that they like!

So here’s a bit of a roundup of what I do before, during and after a job interview.

Research the company/organisation

No matter what I know about an organisation, I do a sweep of all the interview and job description information I’ve had and make notes. Then a quick Google search and a poke around their website provides some more general information about the company.

It’s all useful to know and trust me; it’s really obvious when you’ve done your research.

Know where you’re going and who you’re meeting

If I’m not sure where I’m going I do as much research as possible about the place I’ll be going to for my interview – is there parking available, what time will the train arrive there, what if the train’s late?

I’ve arrived more than an hour early for an interview before because I was nervous about being late, thankfully there was somewhere nearby where I could have a coffee. Try to arrive no more than 15 minutes early.

Have you got everything?

Typically you’ll need to bring some ID with you such as a passport. You might also need proof of any qualifications you mentioned on your application so, don’t forget your certificates. I also like to have some water with me (although it’s usually provided in interviews) and some pens and paper. Make sure to check the interview information and see whether you need to do any prep, in the past I’ve had to prepare a presentation and take it with me.

What type of interview is it?

I’ve been to group interviews, presentation interviews, panel interviews and one-to-one interviews; it just depends on the organisation, department and specific role you’re applying for. Each interview type has its pros and cons, usually I find it less nerve-wracking if there’s more than one person interviewing but really it depends on the people! It’s always important to know what type of interview you’re going to, and try to find out the name/s of the interviewers.

First impressions are vital

I know it’s a cliché but it’s true.

Dress smartly (yes, you have to iron your shirt), smile, introduce yourself, shake hands with your interviewers, please and thank you etc. Don’t sit down until a seat is offered, sit up straight, listen to your interviewers carefully and ask for clarification if you’re unsure about something.

Make eye contact and nod or respond where appropriate. Address the person who has asked you the question but also make eye contact with the other members of the panel.

The questions

Top tip – have a look at the job specification; you can usually work out what kind of questions you’ll get. I’ve had questions on personal strengths and weaknesses, working through a difficult situation, why I would be suitable for the role, and everything in between.

I definitely recommend having a couple of examples of situations you’ve been in and do some personal reflection.

If you’re struggling to think of the best example to use or how to answer a question, ask if you can come back to it. I’ve done this a few times – they aren’t judging you for it.

STAR

The most important thing to remember for interviews – use the STAR technique.

I’m really bad for waffling and trying to cram in a lot of information – have you noticed? The STAR technique helps me give focused, concise answers.

Situation – Who, what, when, where and why

Task – What was the challenge or problem, what was the end goal?

Action – What did YOU do?

Result – What was the outcome?

Ask your own questions

Always ask at least one question yourself. It shows you’re interested – in the job, the company, the people sat in front of you. Rather than trying to think something up on the spot, I tend to go with a few questions in mind, and then whatever isn’t answered; you’ve got some questions to hand.

Just make sure you don’t ask anything that’s already been answered.

After the interview

Before you leave, make sure they have your contact details and that you know when they will contact you. When they do get in touch, I make sure to thank them for their time and for contacting me, I also always ask for feedback on my interview – even if I’m offered the position.

If you need to take a day to consider a job offer, don’t be afraid to ask for some time. Remember, even though a job offer over the phone is brilliant, it’s not binding, and it’s important to ensure you get some kind of written offer.

Good luck out there and remember to check out the Careers Central Interviews page for more advice, tips and to book a mock interview if you’re feeling unprepared or unsure!

Making it in digital marketing without a marketing degree

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Hear top tips from Creative Writing graduate, Hannah Tomaszewski about how she got into Digital Marketing, took a risk and followed her heart to career satisfaction!

Hannah TomaszewskiHow I managed to land my dream job in digital marketing with no relevant degree and very little experience!

I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in the summer of 2016 with a 2:1 Degree in Creative Writing and not much clue as to what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to write but couldn’t seem to figure out what route to go down. When I eventually researched marketing jobs and realised it sounded perfect for me, there was one problem – I didn’t have a marketing degree. In a world where most graduate jobs seem to require at least 2 years’ experience, it seemed impossible. Here’s how I beat the odds and managed to bag a job I’d only ever dreamed of.

What do you do and how did you end up there?

I work as a Digital Marketing Strategist for Bigfoot Digital, an award winning SEO Barnsley Agency. Worried about my lack of experience, after graduating and moving to Chesterfield, I pestered a local marketing agency to let me learn from them in exchange for witty jokes and sarcastic comments. I ended up doing some work experience with them for a month trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could. When I left, I was certain Marketing was the career for me but decided to take a break and worked in a castle hotel in Northumberland for a year – a hilariously odd yet fun experience.

I ended up back in Chesterfield and working in a marketing job that wasn’t what I thought it would be. The job was much more analysis based than advertised and I’m not ashamed to admit I was bored, uninspired and felt like I was sinking. I lasted 4 months until I took a risk, handed in my notice and left with no job lined up. I was told I was being naïve, that any job was better than none, but I followed my gut and, as I walked out on my final day, knew I’d made the right decision. I fired off what felt like millions of applications and, two weeks later, started at Bigfoot. The rest, as they say, is history!

What does an average day at work look like for you?

The thing I love most about my job is that no two days are the same. Although I mainly write content and blog posts for the website, it’s interesting to learn about the more technical aspects of digital marketing and how everyone’s roles interlink and fit together. Our office at Bigfoot is super relaxed and there’s often a background of Spice Girls to get you through the day. My colleagues all have different degrees and experience but we all share a common talent for all things marketing related and help each other out no matter what. I’m so lucky that I get to work with a load of like-minded people who genuinely get on, love their jobs and, most importantly, have a laugh!

My top tips:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others:

It’s human nature to pit yourself against your peers, especially in a creative industry where everything is so subjective. In my office, everyone’s writing approach and styles are so different that it’s completely pointless to try and compare techniques and, often, while you’re busy being jealous of their talent, they’re thinking the same about yours.

  1. Think about what makes you different:

While I was at university, everyone was writing about serious topics while I dedicated my time to writing chick-lit, simply because I enjoyed it more! At the time, I worried that people would perceive me in a certain way, however I’ve since learnt that you should always play to your strengths. I’m proud to be individual and wrote my cover letter for my current job in my own humorous and informal voice – this is what made my boss hire me as I stood out from everyone else!

  1. Try not to panic and don’t give up.

I often still remind myself of this! The world of graduate jobs is extremely daunting! Always remember that you’re still young and no employer should expect you to know everything. When I left my previous job, I felt entirely lost and hopeless, but just weeks later I felt like a completely different person. There are great companies are out there – you’ve just got to find one!

  1. Be brave and have confidence in your own abilities:

In my first Graduate role, I shied away from speaking up and found it embarrassing to admit if I didn’t understand a task. In my team at Bigfoot, our mantra is ‘there are no stupid questions’ and it’s along these lines that I now try to live my life. Don’t be ashamed to admit if you don’t yet know something, everyone starts somewhere!

If you’re looking for marketing work experience, we’re always looking for talented individuals to join our ever-growing team so get in contact with us today!

 

Make the most of your Summer – The Future is Yours

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What will you be doing this summer? Now’s your chance to shine and give yourself the best possible opportunity of starting a successful career by taking control of your future.

Log onto UniHub, search the jobs field with the words Summer 2017 and start building a standout CV.

Summer to remember

You can change your summer by:

  • Volunteering – Get involved in local and national opportunities which make a real impact for charities, festivals and events as well as equipping you with real world skills and experience.
  • Global Internships – Get stand-out global work experience through summer internships with organisations worldwide.
  • Cantor Bursary – Your chance to apply for a flexible bursary of up to £500 to help you experience living and working overseas.
  • Summer Campus Jobs Earn cash in a flexible and familiar environment on campus here at SHU. Be an Ambassador, a Shelver in the library, a Mentor for fellow students or a crucial part of an administration team.

This is your opportunity to get employability experience and give yourself the best possible opportunity of finding a career you love, whatever your year of study.

Be employable and make this year the one where you gain new skills and make an impact locally or globally to stand out from the crowd. 

To view these opportunities, please click here or log onto UniHub and type Summer 2017 in the jobs field.

This week in the Careers & Employability Centre

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Have a look and see what is taking place within the Careers and Employability Centre this week.

To book, please visit the Careers and Employability Centre or visit: https://unihub.shu.ac.uk/

 

Come to our careers fair on Thursday 23rd March

With our Spring Fair taking place on Thursday 23rd March, this is your chance to meet with dozens of local, national and international employers who are offering graduate recruitment, internship and placement opportunities.

If you want to hear five great reasons why you should attend our careers fair, have a look at the video below:

To book your attendance at the fair, please click here.

If you’re already attending, then here’s some great student tips on how to prepare for the fair!

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday 23rd March between 11am – 3pm in Hallam Hall and the Careers and Employability Centre.

Everyone loves Coffee, right? Every question is recruitment…

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Coffee

Did you say hello to a stranger today? Despite what ‘the elders’ told you, you’d be surprised how often you are approached by a total unknown and offer an answer either out of human decency or merely because you feel obliged.

It’s pretty difficult to go through a day without somebody asking you a question. Even those who already know you cannot resist. “Hiya?”, “The weather’s not great is it?”. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m anti-social but believe it or not, I don’t completely avoid interaction!

Every question is a form of recruitment. People want to befriend you, make you see their way of thinking and are prepared to get on board with your thinking and offer conversation. We want to know other people’s opinions and every conversation gives you the chance to take something from it.

Today’s job market is very much the one asking the questions. To give it a personality, the job market would be a cross between the recent EU referendum and Lord Sugar. It seems to know what it wants but gives you the chance to make its mind up. If you’re in it, you do your best to make other people’s minds think that they need you. If you’re not, are you confident enough that you won’t undersell your skills the next time you’re required to prove yourself?

Whether it’s your opinion or someone else’s fact, the next time you make or hear a statement you have the opportunity to;

A) Accept it and move swiftly on.

B) Dissect it and keep your thoughts to yourself.

C) Tolerate it, dissect it, offer your take on it and watch the dust settle.

D) Pretend you’re busy and store it for later!

The sooner you can reflect on your skills the better. Take the time to step out of a situation and see the bigger picture. The simplest of thought processes can often answer someone else’s problems. You can always offer something to someone, it’s knowing what to offer and in what context that’s crucial.

So, why the Coffee question? I task you with walking half a mile from your work place and not running into a coffee shop. Like it or not, coffee now has a way of quietly (in some cases) asserting itself as a constant in our lives. Flavoursome, adaptable, open to change. Solid characteristics with a take it or leave it approach. If you take it, your sold. If you don’t, you can bet your last pound that you will still see its face not too far away from every street corner. Coffee, like or lump it, is always available.

If you take anything from this post, let it be that coffee didn’t give examples of how it prioritises a workload or remains focused whilst using its own initiative. It just gets it! Coffee knows itself to the point where if it had an opinion, then it wouldn’t matter, people would automatically take notice. Be sure of your skills.

What things have you done that someone else might value? How can you recruit people to believe in what you have to offer?

Yes, I’ve posed a lot of questions but the key to success is knowing ‘your’ best answers. I’m yet to meet someone who has the right answer to everything, so be selective about your best qualities and what you can bring to the table. We all have something to offer and a place in society, let coffee be the example! Who knows . . . being sure of your skills and being open to share your success, however small you think it may be, could see you on the right side of the table when Lord Sugar says “you’re hired”.

Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can connect with James on LinkedIn.

Careers Fairs – the blind date you need to be attending!

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ACES-Events-258-Learning-for-employment

I wonder what the person behind me on this train would say to me if they had 30 seconds to hold my attention? I’ve never met them before but I like to think I’m quite easy to get on with. My ability to remember random information about the most bizarre of topics should mean that i am confident we could at least hold a conversation beyond the simple nod of fellow commuter approval!

It just so happens that this guy is wearing my Football teams colours. The knowing nod turned into a question and answer session based on long suffering Sheffield Football opinions.

Consider this scenario. . .

Say I had booked this train well in advance knowing that the guy was going to be on there along with several others with a similar passion and enthusiasm for the same topic. Throw the team manager and a couple of the players on the first class carriage and all of a sudden we have everything needed in the confines of one train to truly make a difference and impact on what is essentially a profit making business.

ACES-Events-272-Learning-for-employment

Do you work for an enthusiastic retail company and are you looking for enthusiastic team members to make a difference on the shop floor?

Do you work in construction and would your company benefit from being in a room of Building Surveying or Urban Planning students? We’re giving you access to top future talent with up to date and innovative thinking from within your industry. This could prove invaluable and give you that competitive edge in the market.

Are you an Engineer looking for Engineers? It’s the same principle. A recruitment fair is a blind date you can’t afford to miss.

Why, I can hear you thinking?

Number 1 – Its free of charge for you to access highly skilled, specialist students and graduates that will make a difference to the future of your business. The best thing is, they’re all under one roof! We spend so much time on smart phones in today’s society but is there really a better form of communication than face-to-face contact?

Number 2 – Students want to see YOU! The competitive labour market has given our students a desire to forge a career whilst they are still studying. There will be attendees who have the skills and specialisms that you’re looking for.

Number 3 – Brand Awareness! First impressions are everything. Your competitors won’t miss a trick, they will be there too. This is your opportunity to showcase your company and exactly what you are looking for and can offer. By the time our students graduate, they will be looking for opportunities to join companies who they are familiar with.

Number 4 – One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. We make our students aware well in advance that you are coming on campus. This means you have a chance to appeal to non-traditional applicants. What’s interesting to a Bio-Science student might not be what you initially think. Thinking outside the box is often a catalyst for positive change.

Number 5 – Give something back to those who could make a difference in your business. Utilise any alumni connections you have with our University and bring along an ex-Hallam graduate who is working for you. What better way to get your message across than it coming from someone who automatically has things in common with our students?

Get involved in our recruitment and careers fairs starting with the Work While You Study Part-Time Jobs Fairs on Wednesday 5th October . Employ our students in paid part-time roles to fit alongside their studies.

To attend please complete a booking form as an expression of interest, and our team will be in touch to discuss.

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Work While You Study Fair – City Campus
Thursday 6th October 2016 – Work While You Study Fair – Collegiate Campus
Tuesday 25th October 2016 – Business & Finance – placement and graduate jobs fair
Wednesday 26th October 2016 – STEM – placement and graduate jobs fair
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 – Events, Tourism, Hospitality & Food – placement and graduate jobs fair
Thursday 10th November 2016 – The Natural and Built Environment Careers Fair

So, without further ado . . . Let the jobs, see the students!

Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can also connect with James on LinkedIn.

Choosing the right digital marketing role for you

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SEO Digital Marketing to improve website views

Using SEO Digital Marketing to increase website traffic

This post was written by Samantha Condliffe – Digital Marketing Exec at Infinities Designer Menswear.

Graduates with marketing degrees often don’t realise just how many different roles are available to them, especially down the digital route. This is because huge developments in technology and culture have completely changed the landscape of marketing over the past ten years, creating a demand for a whole host of new roles which are not yet being taught in our education system.

Each role within digital marketing is vastly different, requiring a different set of skills and a different type of individual.

In this post I will run through the main digital marketing roles in order to help you determine which is most suitable for you.

PPC

PPC is short for ‘pay per click’. PPC adverts are placed on the results page of search engines such as Google or Bing with the aim of driving traffic to your website which will then convert into a sale or another form of conversion for non-e-commerce sites. A PPC exec will carefully chose the search terms which ads are visible for and bid on those terms. This role requires somebody with a mathematical and analytical mind to ensure that the company achieves the highest possible return on investment.

SEO

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ which refers to the process of developing a website to become naturally visible in search engine results pages. Again the aim of this is to increase traffic to your site and in turn increase conversions. To rank well an SEO exec needs to ensure the website is technically well built as well as providing all of the information the user desires from their search, presented in an easily digestible manner. This role mixes technical web knowledge with creativity and is therefore great for anyone who wants variation in their job.

Affiliate

Affiliate markers place adverts on third party websites in order to attract people to their website and increase conversions. They carefully chose websites which have a cross over in target audience and agree commission rates with the sites. This role demands somebody with great communication skills as well as string maths and analytical skills. 

Email

If you are a little more creative and have some design skills then email marketing may be for you. The role includes creating great looking emails using ‘subliminal’ marketing tactics to be sent out to a database of subscribers. The end goal is to get people to take a particular desired action off the back of reading the email, whether that is to visit your website, make a purchase, sign up to an event, enter a competition and so on. You will also need some degree of analytics to review what tactics provide the best results.

Social Media

The usage of social media has grown rapidly over the last few years providing companies with a means of speaking directly with a huge proportion their target audience on a regular basis. The majority of companies with an online presence include social media in their overall marketing strategy. This role is really popular with outgoing and creative people although it does also require some degree of analysis to define a strategy which achieves a constant increase in followers, likes, shares etc.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.

 

If there is more than one role which you would like to pursue or you don’t want to limit yourself to one area then you will be glad to know that some companies combine two roles together. For example you may see some adverts for SEO/PPC exec where time is split between the two or alternatively you could opt for a digital marking assistant role where you will gain a small amount of experience in each area and then go on to decide which area you wish to specialise in. 

“I don’t think I would reach as high in the jobs I am looking for, if it wasn’t for all the additional help from SHU”

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Natalia (right) networking with recruiters from Enterprise Rent-a-Car at the recent Careers and Employability Awards evening.

Natalia (right) networking with recruiters from Enterprise Rent-a-Car at the recent Careers and Employability Awards evening.

Post by Level 5 Digital Media Production student, Natalia M Wesniuk.

I am a mature, Level 5 Digital Media Production student and I have been out to the ‘real world’ only to come back to the University and finish my degree. It’s a challenging world out there and the problem is that you can be qualified for the job but if you don’t know how to cope with complicated and demanding recruitment process, you may just fall short of getting your dream position.

On top of computerised, test based, long and tiered process, there is always a stress and fear factor. It’s not easy for us students out there; it’s not easy for anyone. Luckily Sheffield Hallam University offer a special preparation for its students interested in applying to large graduate recruitment schemes called ‘Career Impact’, in which Level 5 and 6 students can gain the inside full knowledge into the process of getting their dream jobs and becoming ‘graduates with more’.

For me personally, I feel like the workshops boosted my confidence and enhanced my employability skills. I had a chance to speak to the employers and realise that they actually do want us to succeed and get the job, but we just need to follow their procedures to do so. I learned a lot about graduation recruitment practices, as well as making my CV and applications stand out. Receiving guided support, helped me get my own CV up to scratch before all the careers fairs in March. I was taught about leadership development and applying for management roles. I also attended a workshop about effective networking, which enabled me to learn how to use social media into my advantage and how to extend my network in a professional manner. Most importantly I was able to face so called Psychometric Tests. Career Impact advisers gave all of us plenty of links, where we could practice and prepare before the real test itself.

I feel like I can effectively face the whole recruitment process now and a bit more practice after this boot camp could get me far. I still have the other half of the course to undergo and I am confident that with support through Career Impact I will secure a place on a Graduation Recruitment Scheme and I really do I hope I will get my dream job in the end. I would not have that much of a prospective view if not the extra help from Careers and Employability staff and their reassuring support. I really don’t think I would reach out as high in the jobs I am looking for if it wasn’t for the employability fairs and workshops and all the additional help that SHU has for its students.

Frankly knowledge is power but knowing where to apply it, in order to benefit from it and how to get where we want to be, is certainly a whole new chapter. I really do recommend all students to check their emails frequently and to sign up to additional workshops such as Career Impact as it can work a long way and make things easier.

Career Impact will open to new applicants in the autumn term, current students can find out more about Career Impact here: https://careerscentral.shu.ac.uk/getting-experience/career-impact

Why go to a Careers Fair?

Two of the biggest careers events of the year are happening this week, with the Engineering and Technology Fair on Tuesday 4 November, and the Business, Finance and Language Fair on Wednesday 5 November. You might be wondering what happens at a careers fair, and what you might get out of attending.

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